As a tour broker Wine Desk designs, markets and sells tours, outsourcing the operating of most of its tours to a choice selection of guides. It is unfortunate that there are no set requirements with regards to wine knowledge for guides in the Western Cape. A registered cultural guide may also guide a wine tour whether they specialise in the subject or not. This is not monitored. Wine Desk believes that all visitors to our wine country should have the benefit of being guided by at least a wine knowledgeable, if not a specialist, guide. Our guides adapt their level of information to suit a broad range of visitors, from ‘wine dummies’ to connoisseurs. It is important to us that our visitors have a memorable experience having learnt about the South African Wine Industry. Most important of all, having all your questions answered accurately.

Based on the feedback we get from our clients, we can confidently say that these are some of ‘Cape Town’s finest’! Most of them have been with us since Wine Desk’s inception 17 years ago. If you identify with any of the personalities below, you are very welcome to request that guide for your tour, and if available, we will book them for you.

Ligia

The Wine Desk is Ligia de Coito. Winemakers and wine lovers in the Cape came to know her during the 9 years she worked (and studied) at the Cape Wine Academy in Stellenbosch, kick-starting her journey into wine. Ligia is a registered South African Tourist Guide specialising in wine. Her passion for wine is over the top and contagious, and there are few who can match her enthusiasm for wine, winemaking, and the Cape Winelands. Promoting wine and all it offers comes naturally to her and as a natural progression to her work at the Academy and her frustration with a very mediocre wine tourism industry at the time, she founded the Wine Desk in 2002, with the aim of perfecting wine tourism!

Ligia is a founder-member of the South African Wine Tourism Forum, which eventually culminated in the maiden showcasing of Vindaba at Cape Wine 2012; and has organised and led wine and food gourmet tours to France and Italy. A born and bred Capetonian with Mediterranean roots, sharing in her hotelier-parents’ passion for food and wine, she owned her own restaurant in Stellenbosch, is an intrepid cook and loves experimenting and cooking with friends and family.  Ligia takes a special interest in her clients and is very hands-on, so you will probably find that it is her communicating with you on the other side of the email!

Pim

“I have been guiding for quite a few years. Having been a wine lover for many years I also decided to further my knowledge by doing various courses at the Cape Wine Academy and the Stellenbosch University short course. I have also had the opportunity to be on the tasting panel of Distell, South Africa’s biggest liquor producer for 3 years. It has been a great way to further my practical sensory knowledge of most liquor types, especially local and international wines. For me every client after a successful trip is hopefully one more voice in spreading the good news about our country and our wines. I do believe that when a client goes on a wine tour it should be pleasurable and relaxing. I ensure clients realise that no-one is there to judge them or their knowledge. Apart from anything else everyone’s palate and nose is unique so there is definitely no right or wrong answer.”

Katie

Katie has a love affair with wine and her effervescence is palpable as she waxes lyrical about the fruits of the vine. Katie is a registered Tourist Culture Guide for the Western and Eastern Cape with a speciality in the Cape Winelands. She has numerous qualifications in wine including a Sensory Evaluation from the University of Stellenbosch and a Diploma from the Cape Wine Academy. She is on a continuous journey for knowledge to educate her palate and travel the world through a wine glass. Katie is a professional wine taster, qualified to taste and judge for the South African Wine and Spirit Board and is highly sought after for tasting notes and general wine appreciation. She sits on various panels and is a regular taster for Classic Wine magazine. When not in the Winelands, Katie is found conducting Educational Tastings and Service Training throughout the Hospitality Industry. She is insistent to demystify the wonders of wine and make it accessible to all whilst using humour and fun. From beginners to connoisseurs, you will be enchanted by her knowledge, wit and charm.

William aka Alex

William grew up and spent much of his life in Johannesburg. After many years in corporate legal and financial services, he rang in the new millennium by relocating to Cape Town for an enhanced quality of life, and has since enjoyed virtually every day in his new home town. With an in-depth knowledge of wine and the wine industry, he is well positioned to guide visitors ranging from curious wine amateurs to connoisseurs. An abiding interest and knowledge of local history, botany, foods and trends allow him to provide context and nuance to a winelands tour. “Meeting wonderful new people and showcasing the most beautiful and interesting wine region in the New World is more a privilege than a job. The wines themselves, and the surrounding scenery, friendly people, and foods virtually guarantee a happy, memorable experience, I’m here to smooth the way, make sure you’re safe at all times and hopefully enhance the experience.”

Genevieve

“With 18 years experience in the Wine and Hospitality Industry, I love Cape Town, Wine & Food. I have completed various wine courses and I am a Western Cape Cultural Tour Guide. My love affair with food and wine started at a young age and I am continuously learning more! I appreciate the good things in life and enjoy meeting new client, experiencing and exploring Cape Town and what this magnificent country of ours has to offer!”

Anni

Anni is that fabulously rare example of individual who can do a myriad different things and do them well.

With a backgound in fashion, interior design and jewellery, Anni is also an accomplished artist, respected art therapist and a raw food chef. She carries a wine diploma and has trained as a barista! She is also highly skilled in the field of social upliftment and conflict resolution within divergent groups and communities.

For her many and varied interests, travel remains Anni’s number one passion and purpose. Having traveled to all corners of the globe, her deep understanding of people and places allows her to astutely share with and enlighten visitors on the experiences and nuances of our diverse and magnificent country.

Her guided and bespoke excursions incorporate bespoke wine and art tours, high-end and craft shopping experiences, city sightseeing as well as and forest walks and hikes in which visitors can benefit from her extensive knowledge of edible plants and herbs. Her sense of fashion and style comes in when she says, “an off-the-rack outfit can always do just fine, but a tailor-made garment will always be the perfect fit! – The same, is true with travel!

As a raw food specialist, and with an appreciation for all things both delightful and delicious, her foodie tours are a particular delight!  These can incorporate experiences that transport visitors through the history of South African food and introduce them to our rainbow of cultures (from Malay to Afrikaans and everything in-between). They can include everything from to cooking classes with notable chefs to visits to colourful food markets ..and more!

She’ll show you a level of memorable hospitality you’ve never imagined, complete with special touches and attention and one-of-a-kind experiences that will linger long after the holiday has drawn to a close.

“Let the beauty we love be what we do!” – Rumi

Fred

Fred lives life large and his enthusiasm for all things wine-related is infectious.  With a strong background in the alcohol industry, he is well placed to guide you through the Winelands, whether you’re a novice or an expert. From sparkling to still wines, fortifieds and brandies, he loves them all! Born and educated in the shadow of Table Mountain, Fred’s other loves are history, birds and showing off our beautiful Western Cape. He’s been a guide for 6 years and never tires of meeting and sharing his knowledge with visitors.

Colin

“I am ex hotel industry and then spent close on 40 years in the wine industry with last 20 years spent managing the Bergkelder Wine Centre in the Heart of Cape Winelands, in Stellenbosch. I have extensive knowledge of the Stellenbosch and surrounding Wine routes, having worked closely with the Winemakers at different farms, drawing on their vast knowledge ie slope facings, soils, cultivars, wood maturation and cellar techniques. I have a cheerful disposition, good sense of humour, with a collaborative, efficient, independent nature, motivated by customer satisfaction. I have studied through the Cape Wine Academy up to Diploma level, Wines of the World, Food & Wine pairing and completed a Wine Evaluation Course through University of Stellenbosch. I am a member of numerous Wine Clubs around Stellenbosch/Somerset West and managed a Wine Club at Bergkelder. As one who can identify the needs of tourists for effective solutions, I am committed to high quality service that ensures a positive experience.”